Insurance investigator Dan Mahoney (Flash Flood, 2002) gets more than he bargained for when he investigates a bank heist in Wagon Mound, New Mexico.
Nothing makes sense about the break-in to the safe depository of First Community Bank. If whoever tunneled under the bank had turned left into the vault instead of right into the depository, they would have snagged close to $1 million in cash. As it was, the thieves were less interested in stealing valuables than in messing stuff about. The only item missing is Gertrude Kennedy’s Tiffany diamond-and-sapphire necklace, a family heirloom that dates from the time of the Titanic. Since the necklace is insured with United Life & Casualty, Dan is flagged to investigate, but before he even gets to Wagon Mound, he’s injured in a truck rollover that looks staged. The crash brings his favorite lady, Elaine Linden, to his side, and the two do their southwestern take on Nick and Nora Charles, with Dan’s Rottweiler, Simon, standing in for Asta. They hole up in a local boardinghouse, where Elaine rustles up bacon and eggs before sending Dan to tangle with stodgy bank manager Lawrence Woods. Dan also checks out the other safe deposit holders, including crabby Ernesto Romero, crabbier Miguel Sandoval and Doc Jenkins, an old coot who breeds prairie chickens and collects rare comics. When he finds Gertrude’s daughter keeping Jenkins’ books, things begin to look interesting. It still takes several more catastrophic near-misses for Dan to put this baby to bed.
If Slater had continued the sequence, following the command “roll over” with “play dead,” we’d all save some time.